Religious Liberty and Political Morality


in In Defense of Natural Law

Published in print February 1999 | ISBN: 9780198267713
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683343 | DOI:
Religious Liberty and Political Morality

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This chapter defends the conception of religious liberty that is rooted in an appreciation of the nature of religion as a basic human good. Offering a natural law theory of religious freedom as an alternative to the more familiar liberal conceptions, the chapter notes, however, an important similarity between this book’s natural law argument for religious freedom and the Lockean liberal approach to the subject. It is argued here that it is a mistake to conclude, as many contemporary liberals do, that political authority must, in effect, profess agnosticism and concern itself not at all with people’s religious or spiritual well-being. An even worse mistake to make is to suppose that it is illegitimate for people to act on religious motivations in the creation of law and the formulation of public policy with respect to important issues of justice and human rights.

Keywords: religious liberty; human good; liberal; John Locke; political authority

Chapter.  6458 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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